How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of

How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of | Planq Studio | prop styling, photo styling, photo props, brand photography, blog photography, visual marketing

Have you ever had a dream so well-detailed and thought out that you could practically grab it with your hands? I have this dream that makes me giddy every time I think about it: I fantasize about the day I will be able to move my studio outside my home. 

You see, I would love to be able to host workshops and teach people like you how to photo style. This is the kind of work that is best done in person through a hands-on class. Don't you agree?

So that's why I dream of a bigger studio space where I can invite students to do some hands-on photo styling with me for an afternoon. A retreat where we can express ourselves creatively through the creation of pretty photos. Oh what an amazing dream!

Currently, my studio is set up in the third bedroom of our home. It was initially the office until I noticed that my husband never used it, which meant it quickly became a dumping ground for all the things that had nowhere to go.

Despite the fact that my husband rarely saw the inside of the office anymore, he still sulked when I declared we would turn the office into my creative space for Planq Studio. 

How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of | Planq Studio | prop styling, photo styling, photo props, brand photography, blog photography, visual marketing

I love having a home for my photo library and creative materials. This is my sanctuary where I write blog content, churn out newsletters and edit my photos. It's awesome to have made this space my own. But no way can it host workshops! 

But now, I invite you into my humble studio space where I make photo styling magic happen each day. If you've been following me for awhile, you're likely accustomed my very styled photographs and curated content. Today, I'm mixing things up a bit. I'm showing you the real side of Planq Studio. The behind the scenes side. The "no-need-for-makeup-after-dating-three-months" side. 

I want to show you how I organize my prop library, and I want to show you the unedited version. I hope you don't mind the mess!

How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of | Planq Studio | prop styling, photo styling, photo props, brand photography, blog photography, visual marketing

How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of | Planq Studio | prop styling, photo styling, photo props, brand photography, blog photography, visual marketing

 

Take an inside tour of
my prop library!


When I'm styling, I need to work quickly. This is partly due to catching the light before it changes. But mostly because I have a 9-month old baby who can wake up from his nap at a moment's notice.

Needless to say, it's important for me to have an organized prop library. I need to know where my styling tools are at all times. I need to be able to find that vintage book with the blue/gray/orange/whatever color when I need it. And I need my backgrounds to be safely stored away where other members of my family won't trip on them.

There are a few key tools I use to keep my prop library organized. Perhaps some of my systems will help you with organizing your props. I don't mind if you borrow a few of them.

SHALLOW DRAWERS

I have a variety of photo props that are small and can easily get lost sitting in baskets or in a pile of other larger props. I find that shallow drawers helps me corral these items easily without wasting time digging around. 

Things that I keep in shallow drawers include:

  • Scraps of decorative paper
  • Greeting cards and envelopes
  • Postage stamps
  • Gift wrap bows and ribbons
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Office items for desk flat lays
  • Tapes, glues, and stickers
  • Scissors, hole punches, X-acto knives
  • Paint chips and interior design samples
  • Floral tape, wire, and floral foam
  • Rubber stamps and ink pads
  • Calligraphy pens and nibs, and ink pots
  • You get the picture.

FILE CABINET

I have a bunch of crafting supplies like photo paper, laminating sheets, colored paper, and the like that I don't need to access frequently. They also don't photograph very well, but I need to keep them around for any potential DIY prop. For these items, I like to store them in hanging files in a file cabinet. The files are labeled according to the category so I can thumb through my supplies easily.

File cabinets are also a great place to hang scraps of fabric. Just fold the fabric remnants onto the metal bar of a file folder for easy sifting. MUCH better than having to rummage through piles of fabric pieces.

I have two separate file drawers for paper and fabric. 

FILE SORTER

Upright file or letter sorters are the perfect way to organize my cutting boards, large floor tiles, picture frames and any flat items. These are the kinds of props that can easily get toppled over when you have to remove one item from the bunch, but a sorter will allow you to access what you need without knocking everything down like dominoes.

How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of | Planq Studio | prop styling, photo styling, photo props, brand photography, blog photography, visual marketing
How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of | Planq Studio | prop styling, photo styling, photo props, brand photography, blog photography, visual marketing

OPEN SHELVES

I love storing my food props on open shelves. I use plates and trays for more than food styling. They are awesome as backdrops for very small props or when I need an element of layering in my photos. For this reason, I like to have them out in the open where I can see everything and grab them easily. 

I separate stacks of small plates and glass jars using risers and shelf inserts. Utilizing these storage items maximizes shelf space and keeps plate stacks from getting too high.

WOVEN BASKETS

Large rolls of wrapping paper and fabric are stored upright in a pretty woven basket. This basket sits on top of my desk so if it's going to take up valuable real estate, why not make it good looking?

I also use woven baskets to store my linens and napkins. I keep these baskets on open shelves. 

KITCHEN RAILS AND CONTAINERS

I save space in my shallow drawers by storing all my pens and pencils in containers hanging from kitchen rails. The pens and pencils are separated according to style. So if I need color pencils for a photo shoot, I don't need to dig through a bunch of pens just to get to the pencils. I use this rail with these containers and I love it!

OTHER SYSTEMS THAT CAN'T BE CATEGORIZED

  • I save shelf space by nesting smaller props into larger props.
  • I try not to store too many props in non-see through containers because I will easily forget about them.
  • I use paper boxes to hold any photography equipment (like clamps and light bulbs).
  • Larger background materials are currently leaning up against blank walls. I'm looking for a better system for these.
  • I have a myriad of other "props" I've placed around the house that double as home decor. Examples include potted plants, vases, trays, etc. 

When I move into my dream studio, I'm definitely taking these organizing methods with me. What creative ways do you use to organize your photo props?


How To Organize A Prop Library You'd Be Proud Of | Planq Studio | prop styling, photo styling, photo props, brand photography, blog photography, visual marketing

 

Take an inside tour of
my prop library!


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